With more than a decade of experience at Prudential Financial, Dorinda Walker has become one of their leading executives, serving as their VP of Consumer Strategy & Key Initiatives, at their New Jersey Corporate Office. Find out about her climb to the top and why she’s passionate about closing the wealth gap within the Black community.
Name: Dorinda Walker
Title and company: Prudential, VP of Consumer Strategy & Key Initiatives
Location: South Orange, New Jersey
Hometown: East Orange, New Jersey
Twitter:@DorindaWalkerLinkedIn: Dorinda Walker
The Gig: I lead Consumer Strategy and Key Initiatives for Prudential’s Multicultural Marketing for U.S. Businesses. Essentially, I help our United States- based businesses engage women and multicultural consumers in order to grow market share.
The Journey: I actually started my career at Prudential as a temp and I worked in the IT department for 18 months. In 2012, I moved over the Multicultural marketing role. I applaud myself because I kind of created my own job and it’s something that I’m passionate about and really love. It’s a very fulfilling and rewarding job.
Her biggest challenges: There have been plenty of moments where I wanted to give up but the one thing I’ve learned, as a woman of faith, is that you can’t have anything great unless you have to fight for it. I went to battle where I needed to and I came out on the other side.
Her proudest moment: What gives me the most pride in my job is when we deliver leadership or education to consumers and they say ‘thank you because you did this I was able to reduce my debt or I worked with a financial planner and now me and my husband have life insurance policies.’ Those are the things that make me most proud because it shows that the work I do makes a difference.
A new relationship with money: I didn’t have role models when it came to money. Both of my parents were drug addicts so I grew up with a false sense of what money could provide. One side of my family got money fast but the other side was well- educated so I saw both sides of the spectrum. When it came to real money management, I didn’t really learn about money until I started working at Prudential.
The biggest mistake she sees Black women make with money: We don’t talk about our finances. I think as Black women, we talk about everything else but when it comes to a conversation of what we’re doing with our money we keep it quiet. Even if we don’t talk about it amongst our friends we should be seeking the advice of professionals who can help us get our finances right. Once we’re open to talking about it and admitting where we’re falling short and what we’re doing well, I think we’ll be much better off.
Closing the wealth gap for Black families: My great-grandfather was a self-made millionaire. He died in the early 1940s and because he didn’t educate his family on how to carry on his legacy by the time my mother was born, there was no evidence of that legacy. I feel like I owe it to my great grandfather to carry on his legacy, not just for my own family but also for other families, particularly families of color to build generational wealth.
Advice to young professionals: Live below your means, save 10 percent of your income, work with a financial professional and make sure you’re investing wisely. If you sacrifice early, you can live your best life later.
How to balance business and personal: For my husband and I, we always put our relationship first. I see a lot of parents struggle with that because there’s so much focus on the kids but once the kids leave you don’t have your best friend. So we make it a priority to put ourselves as a couple first and foremost behind our faith in GOD.
Her next step: I’m in the process of writing a book so I see myself as a best-selling author and hopefully still with a successful career at Prudential and continuing to make an impact.
In her downtime: Traveling, spending time with my family and reading.
Her tech fixes: Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. I also like Pinterest because I love doing vision boards. I’m a big believer that if you put your dreams out there they’ll come true even bigger and better than you could imagine.
Her theme song: ‘Conqueror’ by Estelle
The ESSENCE Network is a weekly series that reveals how successful, talented, creative black women under 40 got to where they are now. Check back each Thursday for the latest interview.